We took a look at Hourblast Games’ action/strategy social game Dueling Blades earlier today, but our conversation with developer Joseph Cooper was quite a bit longer. We talked about everything from the game’s world to the state of social games in general, and even got an in-depth breakdown of just how the combat will work in the game. Thankfully you can still check out everything Cooper had to say about the game right here.

To start, can you tell us a bit about the fantasy world the game takes place in? And how does the player fit into that world?

The first release of Dueling Blades focuses on the multi-player aspects of the game, which features only light story elements at this time. We are continuing to develop the fantasy world that is set in a alternate medieval theme. In a future release, we plan to roll out a more engaging single player experience. The player takes on his role as part of a rebellion to overthrow an oppressive regime.

What were some of your inspirations in terms of the fiction and world of Dueling Blades?

We wanted to create a world appealing to a younger audience and core gamers. As gamers ourselves, we are intrigued by the fantasy genre such as the film Lord of the Rings and the Final Fantasy series. We wanted to create a style that invokes nostalgia while being widely accepted by the gaming scene.

Based on the descriptions and images of the game it looks as though combat will play a large role? How does the actual combat work in Dueling Blades?

The combat in Dueling Blades does play a large role. We utilize a simultaneous turn strategy gameplay mechanic. This was chosen because it is not only fun, but also performs efficiently on both mobile and social platforms. The battles will take place in a 3/4 top down perspective where you will have a full view of the arena.

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Each turn has a specified time limit where both players will have to decide their movement and attack actions. A player has several actions they can choose during a turn such as normal attacks, a charging ability to regain energy, special abilities and a powerful attack we call, “Fury.”

At launch we plan to have seven playable classes which include novice, warrior, thief, knight, samurai, ninja, and rogue. Each class has a specific set of abilities that compliments their play style. To unlock classes, you will progress through a class tree by leveling up.

When a player performs an attack action, they must direct their attack fan to an area in the arena which they believe their opponent will move. Fan shapes are based on skills and player class attributes.

Special abilities are the key to winning a duel. Throughout the progression of the game, the player will be able to purchase different special abilities for their class. Limited by the amount of abilities they can equip during a duel, the player will need to find their favorite combination for their strategy.

Special abilities use different amounts of energy points in exchange for a unique effect. Some abilities provide buffs for multiple turns or can be used to debuff an opponent. Some skills can counter an attack or create traps on the battlefield. Although special abilities have their perks, they can still be overpowered by a fury skill.

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Other than combat, what kinds of things can players expect to do while in the game?

Players will have many opportunities to customize their character throughout the progression of the game. Additionally, players can entertain themselves by attempting numerous achievements which will have a positive impact on their character. In a future update, we will release a full featured crafting system where players can utilize materials to create epic armor and weapons. For crafting, they can use items rewarded in battle as well as those gifted from friends. Finally, in-between battles, a player will be unlocking additional stats for their character and finding the perfect combination of equipped skills to outplay their opponents.

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Dueling Blades is a 3D game, something that isn’t all that common on social networks. Why did you decide to go this route?

3D games have been the standard for many years and social games are just finally catching on. Social gamers nowadays are becoming very sophisticated and are looking for more than the usual game. We want to cater to that audience and exceed their expectations by offering a high quality and exciting game with depth. We understand there will be risks involved in doing something different, but this endeavour is exciting to us and we feel that it will turn into a very fun game.

The game will debut on Facebook but eventually come to mobile platforms as well. How will the Android and iOS versions of the game compare to the Facebook version?

The Android and iOS versions of the game will be near identical to the Facebook version. Other than minor UI adjustments, the game will offer the same features and functionalities on all devices. The game has been designed to have an equal advantage in a cross-platform experience. Players on all platforms of the game will be able to compete with each other. Finally, Android and Apple users will be able to settle their differences in battle!

More generally, what are your thoughts on the state of social gaming? Why did you decide to bring Dueling Blades to a social network in the first place?

Social gaming is a growing industry with a lot of potential. Developers are experimenting with new and creative ways to tap into this ever-evolving space.

With that said, the social interaction in today’s social games are minimal to non-existent. What you find are re-inventions of previous games with a social twist. We designed Dueling Blades to be a social game from the ground up. Instead of progressing by yourself in a world that seems empty with computer generated opponents, we hope to create a dynamic experience that matures along with the players and community.

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When can we expect to play the game?

Expect to battle your friends this March!

Any final words for your fans?

The team here at Hourblast would love to hear feedback and suggestions for Dueling Blades. Please check out our Facebook fan page, Dueling Blades forum, and Kickstarter campaign [note: launching soon]. Our developers are working closely with the community, so its up to you chime in!